Setting Up Your Home Video Studio

Before the dawn of Digital Video (DV), you needed a well-equipped professional studio to edit video. Now you can play Steven Spielberg at home, but you'll need the following equipment in your home studio.

You'll want a PC that has a 500MHz or faster processor, plenty of RAM (at least 128MB), and a large hard disk (10GB or more). A compressed, 20-minute video consumes about 4GB of disk space. Although you won't store much video data on your hard disk long term, you'll want enough space to store bits and pieces during the editing process without uploading and downloading pieces clip by clip.

You need a camcorder with an IEEE 1394 connection to edit your video. Desktop-editing software products vary, depending on what you want to accomplish. Digital Origin's MotoDV ( and Adobe's Premiere 5.1 ( are both good starting points. Many DV cameras provide software, but you might want to purchase higher-quality software for your home studio. Adobe Premiere 5.1 offers the software tools for professional DV editing. The Adobe Premiere 5.1 interface resembles similar Adobe products such as Photoshop and includes editing tools that you can use to produce broadcast-quality movies for video, film, multimedia, and the Web. The product's DV device compatibility includes capture, batch capture, device control, timecode, and export-to-tape capabilities.

Most IEEE 1394 capture boards connect to a PCI slot and cost $150 to $300. The IEEE 1394 interface sends both the audio and video signal through one IEEE 1394 cable, as compared with the old-fashioned analog method that requires three cables--an S-Video or composite video cable and two RCA audio cables. Many DV cameras support legacy ports, so technically, you could shoot in DV, then output an analog stream to your television or VHS deck.

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